By Merle Riepe, PhD – SOLVE President
It has been 21 weeks since many of us began working from home. 21 weeks – wow! Take a deep breath, you probably deserve it.
Most leaders and employees have experienced the stages of coping multiple times over (remember DABDA – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance?). And it is not over – not close.
Over this period, one common phrase I am hearing is “we’re doing more with less,” as individuals and businesses. And while there are some benefits to that approach, there are also some cautions. Primarily, are you taking care of yourself? And, are you helping your employees do the same? Although this feels like a marathon (and many are approaching it that way), you simply do not have the capacity and conditioning to be successful with that approach. Not because of some personal limitation or weakness, but simply because you are human.
So, what can you do? I encourage you to reframe work as a series of sprints and align your day with the natural rhythms of your body – exert and rest, exert and rest, exert and rest. Consider, every major organ in your body follows this rhythm – your heart, your lungs, your stomach, your intestines, your brain. Yet, we fool ourselves into thinking we can work in contrast to our nature. In fact, there is often pride and recognition in being “so busy” or “killing it” at work. Entertain how you would judge a colleague who told you his day was “relaxing and efficient” – you would likely experience envy or irritation (or predict his imminent termination).
We often consider it strange to rest while working because we define work as 9 to 5, 7 to 4, 6 to 6. In fact, the definition of work is “being engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result.” I encourage you to return to this definition of work – be engaged, and then disengage, briefly. Discover ways to refuel your energy so you can continue to “kill it,” but in a way that “it” is business results, and not your wellness.
Here is an article that was published in Harvard Business Review nearly ten years ago. It is relevant today. It provides practical tips on how to refuel your energy. I hope you find it useful and I encourage you to share it with your colleagues. Consider sharing an example of how you refuel or a new tactic you are attempting to build. Model the behavior of renewal so others feel permission to do the same. If you would like more resources like this or to discuss further, please reach out or check out our workshops and executive coaching.
Onward and upward!